City Pick: New York

City Pick: New York
Heather Reyes
Reviewed by Katie Allen
Oxygen Books
Thu, 20/10/2011

Oxygen Books' range of “city-pick” titles collect the best bits of writing about a certain city. Having hop, skipped and jumped from Venice to Amsterdam via Berlin and other European cities they have finally crossed the Atlantic to the Big Apple.

A slim volume, perfect for carry-on, the New York edition is a fast-paced powerwalk through different “themes” or moods of the city, including “On the waterfront”, “And all that jazz” and “Village Life”. Each chapter contains segments from published works from writers such as Tom Wolfe, Saul Bellow and Jonathan Franzen, mixing memoir with fiction, reportage and travel writing.

Perhaps the most affecting is “Good Times, Bad Times”, which includes a section from Don DeLillo’s Falling Man, centered around 9/11, with its nightmarish vision of “falling ash and near night”. Other standouts include Jan Morris’ evocation of the overcrowded tenements in the 1940s, known as “lung blocks” because of the easy spread of TB, and Luc Sante’s depiction of the “freewheeling bohemia” hipster hangout that was Greenwich Village (before the rents went up).

Edited by Heather Reyes, City Pick: New York works both as an excellent, and imaginative, alternative travel guide, and as an easy way for wannabe Manhattanites to pop in and out of the city that never sleeps.

New York, travel
Travel, maps

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